homemade phyllo leaves with ham (or salmon), spinach and mozzarella stuffing

I had to wait until my phyllo leaves recipe was published before sharing an example of what you can do with them. As the title of this recipe indicates, many substitutions are possible, depending on your personal and dietary preferences.

You may also buy your own phyllo dough; I honestly don’t know if a gluten-free version is available in your local stores, but over here in France I haven’t seen any. A lot of folks end up using rice paper sheets in lieu of phyllo, but I find the result to be a lot drier, even harder to bite into.

So, before I go on with the recipe, just a quick recap on the different combinations you can have :

Organic Parma ham (which I found in the U.S. and have already mentioned here) may be replaced with thin smoked salmon or trout slices. As far as we are concerned, smoked food does not always agree with my sulfite-intolerant husband.

– If you need to go dairy-free, mashed potato may substitute the Italian buffalo organic mozzarella which is (as of today) the only cheese my Significant Other eats without reacting. I am very thankful that there is at least this one option open to us, I so enjoy the taste of real mozzarella !

– no need to substitute the spinach here, of course everyone loves it… or will, thanks to this recipe ! Just make sure it is fresh and ORGANIC ; not only is it free of pesticides, thus better for your health, but also it absolutely tastes better.

– no matter which ingredients you decide on, the cumin should be kept for extra flavor.

Ingredients for 5 «pockets»; no fancy triangles here, I keep my folding step simple

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10 phyllo leaves (recipe here if you wish to make them yourself; for this recipe I used the teff flour mix) or 10 rice paper sheets

100 g / 3.5 oz (net weight) fresh organic spinach ( you will need a little more when you buy it )

– 5 slices of organic Parma ham / smoked salmon or trout

1/4 tsp cumin (mine is organic)

– 125 g / 4.4 oz Italian buffalo organic mozzarella, left to drain for a few hours in the fridge / some cooked potato, mashed

NO SALT is necessary here : plenty of it in the ham or fish already !

How to:

(Defrost phyllo leaves if necessary ; this should not take more than 5 or 10 minutes, basically the time you will need to get through steps 1 and 2.)

1. Remove stems from spinach, wash, and drain. Cook briefly in hot skillet, until wiltered. Squeeze to drain excess water, chop and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp cumin.

2. Dice drained mozzarella and add to spinach. Mix, thoroughly if you are using mashed potato instead of the cheese. Weigh the mix.

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3. Place one slice of ham / fish on one phyllo leaf. Spread 1/5 of the spinach mix over half of the length of the slice, fold slice over and seal, pressing edges together with your fingers . The sealing is important if you use mozzarella: it ensures that the cheese will not leak out of the packet when melting!

4. Fold the top part, then the bottom, and finally the left side and the right of the phyllo sheet so as to make a small pack. Flip over, place on a second phyllo leaf and fold as before. This way you get an even number of layers on both sides of the « packet » (for lack of a better word).

Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the end of the spinach mix ; you end up with 5 filled pockets which can now be filmed and kept in the fridge for another 24 hours or cooked, in a little olive oil, about 3 to 5 minutes for each side. What you get is a lovely flaky outside, with a melting heart (sounds like someone you know xxx?) and a subtle cumin flavor. I love it. Tempted yet ?

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